Vicky Spratt | Deputy Editor | Thursday, 14 April 2016

The Real Reason Why Harvard\'s Version Of The Bullingdon Club Won\'t Admit Women

The Real Reason Why Harvard's Version Of The Bullingdon Club Won't Admit Women

The Debrief: Secret all male societies at the Harvard have been criticised by the university's dean for not admitting women, the elite Porcellian Club have responded with a shocking explanation as to why they can't have female members

Secret all male societies at the world’s most elite and exclusive universities. How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

For decades they’ve been providing subject matter for many a (dodgy) movie. We all remember those hazy, romantic university/college films with pop-punk sound tracks with impossibly attractive stars like The Skulls ft. Paul Walker and Joshua Jackson or Riot Club ft.Douglas Booth and Max Irons , where the protagonist always, in the end, turns out to be a stand up guy despite the company he keeps. He remains in the club but his inner ethical struggle along with his love for the girl who works in the local coffee shop/pub is evident throughout. However, such posh lad gangs are much less appealing in real life where they exist unfiltered.

Last month ivy-league university Harvard released a report which linked such clubs on their own campus with ‘non-consensual sexual contact’, and criticised their all-male membership. Harvard’s Dean, Rakesh Khurana, told the college paper, The Harvard Crimson, ‘single gender social organizations at Harvard remain at odds with the aspirations of the 21st century society to which the College hopes and expect our students will contribute.’ The report found that 47% of undergraduate female seniors who participated in clubs had experienced ‘non-consensual sexual contact.’

Prompted by this, in an unprecedented move Harvard’s Porcellian Club (a bit like an American version of Oxford University’s Bullingdon Club) – members of which have included Theodore Roosevelt – have spoken out publically about their activities and all-male membership for the first time since 1984, when they have a statement on their decision to admit an African-American member for the first time.

The Club’s graduate board president, Charles Storey from the class of ’82, wrote an email to the college paper, The Harvard Crimson, after they broke the report, in which he defended the club and revealed the reason as to why admitting women to the Porcellian Club would be a bad idea. Apparently, it is felt that allowing women to join would actually increase the number of sexual assaults. He said, ‘given [the club’s] policies, we are mystified as to why the current administration feels that forcing our club to accept female members would reduce the incidence of sexual assault on campus.’

Imagine that, women and men interacting with one another in the same place at the same time? What a suggestion! Storey added, ‘forcing single gender organizations to accept members of the opposite sex could potentially increase, not decrease the potential for sexual misconduct.’

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Tags: University, Sexism